Review: The Galley at Woodbridge - a restaurant that lives up to it’s ‘fabulous’ billing

A signature dish at The Galley, Ugur's Fabulous Turkish Lamb Stew

A signature dish at The Galley, Ugur's Fabulous Turkish Lamb Stew - Credit: Archant

“I guess we’re not just a fashion”, shrugs off Turkish restauranteur Ugur Vata when asked about his 21 years in the business.

The Galley in Woodbridge takes pride of place on Market Hill

The Galley in Woodbridge takes pride of place on Market Hill - Credit: Archant

“It’s about food. The food speaks for itself.”

The Galley, which has pride of place on the Market Hill, Woodbridge, has secured a top spot in Suffolk’s best restaurants by letting the food do the talking.

The menu - which changes daily - is a mixture of Mediterranean, with heavy Turkish influences, and Suffolk’s finest produce.

“I say modern European” defines Ugur (pronounced “0o-wer” in case you’re stuck) “but with an emphasis of being super local, where we can, and always fresh.”

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We tarried over the menu, especially the starters. The Turkish beer, Efes, and the large glass of red wine helped the burden of deliberations, of course.

There is a lot to tempt - from crispy feta cheese and olive filo pastries to welsh rarebit with mushrooms from Capel St Mary or smoked salmon with caper berries.

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We opted to share a plate of the Gressingham duck and courgette fritters with chilli sauce and pan-fried squid from Spain.

Both were delicious and if it wasn’t frowned upon, I might have been tempted to lick my plate or at least ask for some bread (ciabatta, fittingly) to soak up the garlic sauce served with the squid.

The squid, which included the tentacles, was cooked to perfection and served simply with a salad. The duck fritters were crispy and tasty, and complemented by the chilli sauce.

For our main course, we went with recommendations from our waiter, Saul, who was attentive and humorous and rivalled Ugur in his passion for the restaurant.

I had the Turkish stew with braised lamb served in a terracotta dish and accompanied with braised rice and salad leaves.

Titled the ‘Fabulous Turkish lamb stew’, it had a lot to live up too. It certainly delivered. It was punchy, with snippets of fruit (pomegranate and apricot), and lovely big chunks of aubergine, chick peas and spices. The lamb was tender and infused with flavour. The dish came with a handful of vegetable crisps on top, which were so delicious that, after forcing my husband to try one, we both agreed we could eat a bowl of those alone.

My husband had a loin of rare breed pork - from Bramfield we were told - served with a sweet and sour prune sauce. The pork was very well cooked and the sauce was fruity and laced with spice.

One fleeting glance at the desert menu, and we couldn’t resist. My husband ordered the provocatively titled “sexy sticky toffee pudding”, and although I’m not sure what he was expecting, his choice was a good one. Served with delicious ginger ice cream, it was great pudding - top-notch flavours, timeless and steamy (ah, so there’s the sexy link).

I ordered “Ugur’s fabulous (there’s that word again) rich rice and vanilla pudding” drizzled with red berry sauce. It was a winning dish. Creamy and luxurious, and balanced by the tang of the berry sauce.

Like it’s menu, the restaurant is welcoming and relaxed with some grand statement pieces of art. The impressive cellar, which is worthy of a mention, can be hired for private parties, as well as a good-sized room on the second floor.

But, rightly, it’s the food that sells this place. Seasonal and sourced locally, you’d go some way to beat it.

Fabulous, Ugur.

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